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Why we’re not all equipped for renovating

PUBLISHED: 14:09 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:43 06 November 2017

Couple planning home improvements

Couple planning home improvements

© Getty Images

Columnist Jane Howdle explains why she’ll never buy a property that needs renovating

Have you got a kitchen/diner/family room yet? If not, why not? It seems like every other person I know has, or is currently renovating in a bid to create one.

We’re sadly lacking, but would naturally love one. Our kitchen opens out onto what’s been described quite sniffily – but accurately (by the same so-called friend who likened our hall and stair carpet to underlay) as a lean-to conservatory. We don’t have any bifolds either. They do look a lovely thing to have, though.

As much as I envy my friends and their newly renovated homes, I don’t think I’ll ever live in such a property unless I’m lucky enough to buy it in its ready-renovated state.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the mind-boggling complexity of buying a new carpet, so having to make decisions on any number of topics, from flooring to light fittings, often under tight time constraints, blows my mind. How do people do it without having nervous breakdowns?

Then there’s the financial aspect – how on earth do they manage to keep the budget under control and the ever-changing Excel document up to date?

Towergate Insurance’s home renovations tool is designed to help with estimating the cost of renovations, offering a rough guide to whether the work will be worth it. What’s not to like about a good interactive tool, particularly when it may be able to save you a few quid? All they require is the current value of your home and your budget, then – ta-da!

The downside – apart from the fact that it’s pretty vague - is that it isn’t designed to take in the regional variations in price for these assorted home improvements. The cost of a loft conversion is quoted as being £17,500 for example, something anyone who’s shelled out for such a project in the south east can confirm is wildly optimistic. Then there’s the sternly-worded disclaimer: ‘This is not investment advice’. If anyone decides a web tool designed to bring traffic to an insurance company’s website is anything more than a fun starting point to a far more complex process then they deserve a lifetime of lean-to conservatories and underlay-inspired carpet, quite frankly.

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